by Jennifer O'Brien

Jacon group CIO: ‘We’re about to launch down the face of a tsunami wave’

Oct 16, 2018
Artificial IntelligenceBig DataCloud Computing

As Jacon Technologies’ newly crowned inaugural group CIO, Matt Gardiner is eager to rev up activity in the company’s digital transformation journey, which admittedly has been immature at best.

“While there have been some small starts in various technologies, I see these as the business prototyping potential directions,” Gardiner told CIO Australia. “We’re really at the very beginning of the digital journey so it’s both a big challenge to reach the digital goals quickly and at the same time a massive opportunity as a greenfield to leverage the current state of tech across IoT, AI and automation fields.

“Things are moving so fast in these areas and so much is at a tipping point it feels like we’re about to launch down the face of a tsunami wave. I can feel the adrenaline pumping through my veins.”

CIO Australia caught up with the former head of IT of Rawson Homes three months into his new role at Jacon.

Established in 1978, Jacon Technologies is a player in the niche field of designing, manufacturing and supplying concrete pumping, spraying and transportation equipment to the mining and construction industry in Australia and overseas.

The company markets its products both locally in Australia and Vietnam as well as in North and South America, China, South East Asia and Russia.

Gardiner said he is particularly excited to be stepping into a newly created role, which has a massive focus on going digital.

Matt Gardiner

“This is a new role for Jacon and reflects the level of maturity and growth opportunity ahead. We’re entering a new phase with a partner investor and the volume of market demand is increasing globally. My role will be to ensure we evolve quickly into a well-integrated digital business.”

He said the CEO has a big vision for the organisation as a digital leader: “The IT vision sees us moving solidly into Industry 4.0 by merging ERP, IoT, AI alongside factory and field automation.”

Reflecting on his time at Rawson Homes, he said the company had well-established IT systems and was already in the process of integrating their core systems.

“When I joined, stability and reliability were questionable and the internal resources were so stretched that the IT reputation was very low. So there were three distinct phases: Stabilise, Build out functionality, Simplify and consolidate.

“Rawson tripled in size between 2015 and 2017 so keeping up with the growth and filling the functional gaps was intense. Meeting the business demand meant a combination of tactical and strategic technical decisions. Getting to the next level of digital future requires a simplification of systems and consolidation of data, this is the path I left Rawson embarking,” Gardiner said.

Some of his main highlights at Rawson included: setting and executing the vision and strategy; establishing an IT service desk; building an online training library; deploying an SAP connected mobile app platform; and establishing a PMO.

Gardiner said he brings to the new post some ‘lessons learned’ from the last job, mainly: the simple perennials can sometimes be overlooked; the importance of getting the right buy-in from the right stakeholders; don’t underestimate the change management effort; and be vigilant about not over-promising and under-delivering.

Asked how his new group CIO role will it be different to his previous head of IT post, he said the leadership, vision and team building steps are similar, but the content is different.

“This role is global and brings the big challenges of handling cultural and legislative differences. The change management becomes much more important and nuanced,” he said.